Tonight I was billed on the poster for the gig in an unusual way. To quote it said:
Headling: Ashley Frieze "Certainly knew how to raise the big laughs"
Now, the press quote is an old favourable review I once got, and since I seldom get reviewed, it's one of the reviews that peole often use about me... What I'm basically saying is that I am used to seeing those words. But the word "headling" is new to me.
One thing that I notice as a trait in both comedians and skeptics is their power to exaggerate the taking literally of something that isn't really claiming to be any of the things that they then extrapolate from the literal interpretation. This fallacious argument technique is known as the straw man. So, I could start to ponder what the poste writer meant when they said I was a headling... Perhaps I was born of a head, or grew from a young head into an adult male...
...except I know that this is not what happened. It was a two character typo on a poster. I was headlining, of course.
What's interesting for me is how this typo set of against the press quote. In this new context as a headling, the quote looks almost sarcastic. Yes, this so-called headling certainly knew how to raise big laughs... Bloody headlings, taking to our stages, headling our audiences. Laugh? Not me. Not even a small one!
This ability for a new bit of information, context or insight to distort your view of something that's been sitting in plain sight for ages is something I am particularly interested in as a comedian. It can be one of the most satisfying of jokes, and I find myself looking for ad hoc observations that I can pull into each gig from what surrounds me.
Tonight's show was at Richmond University, the main building of which is a deconsecratec ex seminary, I believe. With signs on the walls and windows in Latin, preaching the love of religion, this was a strange setting for our most lovely gig, and must also be an odd place to live and study... Yet it is probably considered to be perfectly normal by its residents who are undoubtedly inured to its nuances.
Today I declared, and yes you did have to be there, that it was the first gig I had done where the signs saying this way to the gig were in Latin. The elephant in the room, the thing hiding in plain sight, was outed and it was at least amusing to us all.
One of the acts contacted me after the show to tell me that he'd never seen a headling before, and that I was the best one he'd seen.
Sometimes comedy feels like satisfying time well spent.